My husband, Zach, and I started going to counseling together several months ago because of my postpartum depression and the rough season we’re going through. We had a certain number of sessions paid for by his work, and at first it was helpful, but it seemed like, due to the limited number of visits, the therapist, though really great, didn’t want to dig into anything without being able to see it through. At the time, it was fine because I was doing better anyways. I actually came out of the depression for about 2 or 3 weeks and it was wonderful!
For the first time in a long time, I felt normal. I could function and get things done and generally just do life and enjoy it. But I was still out of practice and it was challenging to jump back into all the things I hadn’t been doing for a while.
My husband had to go back to being in the office after working from home for months, and we quickly realized that it was happening all too fast for me. At first, I felt empowered with my new found normalness, and it was pretty nice to take care of things by myself while he was at work all day. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t sustainable for long.
I began to notice these moments where I would feel that depressed feeling again. It started with just one occurrence, one day, for a few minutes. Then it happened more and more. Every day that Zach was gone and I had full responsibility for taking care of myself and our kids, I seemed to decline. It was too much for me.
I could feel myself, little by little, slipping away. Such a scary and helpless feeling. The fog became more and more dense until there was no light peeking through anymore. The depression was back, with a vengeance.
For the most part, all I felt was anger. I was so mad. I had been given this glimpse of what I could be, what life could be like, and then it was snatched away in an instant. I easily blamed everyone else for my plight. I felt like the whole world was against me.
I was hurting. A lot. And I didn’t know what do with all of those intense feelings. I just wanted to disappear. Hide away from the pain. Leave the world for a little while. Escape my mind.
After a particular rant on Facebook, I realized that whole social media world was only contributing to my anger. I wasn’t getting the support I needed and everything was just making me frustrated. So I decided to just get off. I stopped posting, newsfeed scrolling, liking, and commenting. I deleted the app on my phone and would just occasionally check things, mostly looking at my “On This Day” and reading in my favorite gentle parenting group. The only things I posted were pictures on Instagram.
It was amazing the difference I noticed! I could no longer use Facebook as an escape, so even the other escapes that I did use, like playing games on my phone or watching tv, at least weren’t making me worse. I also found myself reading more, which actually did help me feel better. Then because I couldn’t rant on Facebook anymore and I didn’t feel capable of blogging, I started journaling.
Journaling has been so great for me! It is really helpful to get my thoughts out. When my feelings are so intense and I just want to tell someone, anyone, then I can write it all down, get it out of my head, and keep it more to myself instead of putting an unnecessary burden on other people. And I believe it will be nice in the future, to look back on what was going on in my life and how I was feeling.
After a long and rocky road, my husband was eventually given permission to work from home more often again, with the stipulation that we go back to counseling. At first that made me really angry as it felt like just one more thing we had to add to an already busier-than-we’d-like schedule. And I knew the therapist we had been seeing just wouldn’t be the right fit for us anymore.
So we went into it again reluctantly, asking for a different counselor with a little more experience. Right away we got a call from the only marriage and family therapist in the office and scheduled an appointment. I think Zach was a little more optimistic about the whole thing than I was. But cautiously, unhopeful, I gave it a try anyways.
I wasn’t doing well the day of our first appointment. I was angry and didn’t really feel like talking. It always feels strange to open up like that to someone you’ve only just met. But I knew I needed to if we were going to get anywhere. And I am so glad I did.
For probably the first time, I felt like someone fully understood us and what we are going through. He acknowledged our pains and normalized our struggles. He assured us the things we are going through are not uncommon and that there is hope. He was super knowledgeable about everything we brought up and he made us feel hopeful again.
Only God could have led us to this person because he is exactly who we need in this season. We have been heard and challenged. The things he has dug out of us are mind-blowing and life-changing. We have a long road ahead of us and we will have to make adjustments that will certainly not be easy. But we have so much hope and excitement for this process and the future it will bring us to.
I want to share this journey with you, because I believe humanity is meant to be shared. I pray that my story will mean something to you and give you a light in the midst of your own trials. You are not alone. This thing you are going through, other people have been there too and are there right now. And we will push through this life together, one step at a time.